by Zainab Naseem
  • 13 Oct - 19 Oct, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Interview

Extravagant royal weddings and luxurious opulent occasions, think about it and the picture you will get is of the renowned, Qasim Yar Tiwana, famously known as QYT, a genius with a magic wand who put all his capabilities at work when organising an event. His much talked-about decors are testament of his aesthetic sense and sensibilities that make him stand out in the crowd. Tag along as MAG connects with QYT to ask about his happening life as a standout amongst the most glamorous wedding and event organisers in the country.

When events are on peak, you must be the busiest person around. Is it always the same for you?

Well, when the season is on the groove, I get very busy and in the off season when I am free, I hang out with friends but mostly I have meetings all the time. When I get free time outside of work, I take interior designing projects. Basically, I am a interior designer and did my course from National Collage of Arts (NCA). When I started QYT Events, I almost left that course, but it’s similar to what I do now. It’s all about décor, interiors

You are one of Pakistan’s most famous event planners. How do you feel about contributing your talent and skills in this industry?

I believe that when you contribute your 100 per cent to what you do, the results become evident and success becomes the talk of the town. When I started out, there was no such hype of event management on a big scale. I do appreciate others’ work and skills, as well, and I feel happy. And if you are positive, you should continue working and I just do whatever I feel like doing.

How much do you think the ‘wow’ factor is important to you?

The ‘wow’ factor is the most important thing for me. When people enter an event, managed and designed by me, I want them to be spellbound – this is my motive. Sometimes, this perfectionist attitude also comes off to me as a source of my vexation. I keep a fine eye on little details, when completing my work in the last moments and see the perfect side of it; I keep tweaking and perfecting details. Even the minute ones that include the correct position of the sofa, I’m never completely satisfied with it! [laughs]

Where do you think the event management industry stands in Pakistan?

Events take place everywhere and wedding ceremonies are regular in Pakistan. Earlier, these ceremonies would take place in canopies and tents but now every girl wants a fairytale wedding. Therefore, the décor has an important value attached to it. So, the event management industry is bigger in size now making the weddings buzz of the town and an ultimate lifetime experience.

How do you manage moments of hectic schedules, deadlines, last minute changes, clients’ pressure etc? Because when you work with clients and huge events, problems might pop up in the last moments.

If I am hired by a client, I take all the responsibility to give 200 per cent [of my energy] to that particular event. In the process of putting my best foot forward, I don’t let my clients have any trouble about the arrangements and settings. Me and my team strive to be punctual with work schedules and finalise all things prior to the deadline, so to make the client at ease and enjoy peace of mind.

While reaching the pinnacle of successes against all odds in the industry, did you have the fear of competitors around you?

When I started in early 2000, there was Zari Khalid, who was the sole inspiration for me in the event management industry. I really didn’t have competitors around me. I collaborated with Khalid and everyone started calling her my competitor. I was very amazed by the fact because I have always considered her my inspiration and a friend. I believe healthy competitions are good for everyone and the process of improvement should always get going.

How easy or difficult was it for you to carve your own niche in an industry where nepotism is quite evident?

When I started working I was just a student. The legendary designer Nilofer Shahid basically launched my career with her daughter’s wedding. That was the time I feared how would I do it and how would I prove myself? But she believed in me and my talent. She helped me a lot in the process. I was obviously afraid of the outcome, but the experience was outstanding for me. My originality and creativity gave me prominence. The wedding became talk of the town and since then I never looked back. That was the time I launched QYT Events in 2003 and my niche was established with it.

Your elder brother Asim Tiwana has contributed a lot towards your career. What kind of learning experiences did you get from him when you set foot in this industry?

I have travelled a lot with him, because he does international shows almost all around the world to promote a softer image of Pakistan. We have done shows in America, London, Malaysia, Jordan, Dubai, Brunei and many other places, to blend with the people and their cultures; this is such a proud moment for all of us, so I had gotten a lot of inspiration from him that way.

Being a busy bee and with the crazy work schedule, how do you manage to take out time for your family. Do you guys often meet despite living in different cities?

Because of my father’s job, we kept shifting from one to another city within Pakistan. And now that we all are settled, we do take out time for each other to meet, sit and talk. I often travel to Islamabad to meet my family and friends and also because I have spent a major part of my childhood there. In short, I don’t let the distance become a barrier in hanging out with my loved ones.

What’s next on your plate?

As you know the wedding season is taking off, we have a lot of events lined up. I am getting a lot of calls from abroad, especially Bahrain, London and US for weddings, so I am looking at the bigger picture now. •